Radio Freethinker

Vancouver's Number 1 Skeptical Podcast and Radio Show

Free-Range isn’t all it’s Cracked up to be

Posted by Jenna Capyk on August 26, 2011

I have a confession to make: I buy free-range eggs. That’s right, I shell out the five bucks for those dark-yolked wonders and pass through the cash line at the grocery story without blinking an eye. This type of attitude, however, could be looked at as distinctly unskeptical based on new research from our friends, the poulty-ologists.

In a study published in the July edition of Poultry Science (yes, this journal does exist, and publishes editions monthly) researchers outlined their findings comparing eggs from free-range chickens and those housed in cages. The results? They were were unable to establish any significant nutritional advantage to free range eggs, although they did find that the free-range chickens produced eggs with higher levels of beta-carotine, possibly accounting for the delectably dark yolks characteristic of the pricier eggs.

Yes, there is still the question of animal welfare inherent in the great egg debate. After all, us top-of-the-chain omnivores shouldn’t be concerned exclusively with our own nutritional requirements; there is poultry welfare to be considered as well. So for those who want to be kind to our fine feathered friends, by all means, pay the extra dough for your over-priced oeuvres (I know I will). But for those who are buying free-range for the extra “oomph” in your egg, you might want to consider putting that weekly three bucks toward an extra helping of quinoa.


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